In the midst of the recession, it’s easy to think boating will never be a vibrant business again. Well, I’ve got some reassuring news. It’s “show & tell” time. I want to show you why we’re assured of a return to prosperity in our industry.

Next week, NMMA will announce the winners of a Discover Boating video and photo contest that has garnered extraordinary results, and Trade Only Today will bring you the full story. In the meantime, today I want to show you the “window” into boating’s bright future that these videos reveal — clear evidence that we can be sure boating will flourish again.

When NMMA’s team created the “I Discovered Boating” contest, their hope was to get, perhaps, 40 entries. That would have been a good success, given the time and work people would have to put into their entries. But as will be reported next week, a whopping 280 entries came in from around the country!

However, the big numbers are only part of the success. It’s the content of these videos that is so telling. I’ve had a chance to view many of them and most are amazingly good. Some are humorous, others romantic, still more capture slices of the boating lifestyle. Together, they represent an incredible testimony by our customers of the great experiences we bring to them by what we do in this business.

I ask myself why such a large number of boaters would take the time to write and create and edit and enter a video in a contest. After all, there are no overwhelming prizes and even less fame than a singer who gets cut at the first American Idol tryout. The answer is simple: passion, just passion. If there were ever any doubt about the passion our customers have for boating, it will be laid to rest when you see these videos.

Because I’m sure seeing these videos will give us all a boost in the industry, we’re going to make them part of Dealer Outlook until the end of summer. So with each Dealer Outlook (every Tuesday and Thursday) we’re going to include a link to a new video. If you want to enjoy some unique and creative stories about how people discovered boating — a sure “pick-me-up” for you and your staff — please check here every week. The link will appear as a special button on each Dealer Outlook blog.

Finally, the Discover Boating team deserves recognition for doing a great job, despite drastically reduced budgets, keeping the Discover Boating message going out nationally with such creative ideas as this contest. Specifically, the team, under the leadership of Carl Blackwell, includes Armida Markarova and Alissa Calomino, the interactive marketing group and creators of the contest; and the PR team of Ellen Hopkins, Kelly Kaylor, Dana Fennewald, Sarah Ryser and Christine Pomorski. Together they have succeeded in finding creative ways to keep the Discover Boating message alive and out in the national marketplace.

To kick things off, here are links to preview two videos that will leave you looking forward to more next week.

Click here for the first video.
Click here for the second video.


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